Prisoners behind bars. Residue of a strip-mined stone wall that was: Scooped from the land, Wrapped in wire, Mounted on a pallet, Shipped to some “garden-supply” business, and Likely to be used to build a backyard wall that none of us can see.

Should we strip-mine stone walls?  I think not.  One afternoon of work by a diesel-powered front-end loader can easily erase a century’s worth of hand-crafted stone, a labor of love by some anonymous person.   Should we stiffen penalties for roadside thievery?  I think so.  Massachusetts recently did, raising the fine above $15 for the first time in decades.  And thumbs-up to New Hamsphire for passing regulations in 2009 against theft.  Conservation is a tricky business, which is why this section of the website has so many links:

  • Threats, ranging from late-night rustling to legal strip-mining.
  • Rationale, a series of published essays justifying the conservation movement.
  • Case Histories, the good and bad news of towns confronting the  stone wall trade.
  • Stakeholders, a page explaining how we’re all in this together.
  • Management, the nuts and bolts.
  • Legalities, a short list of laws and ordinances. (Please send me yours to add here)
Lucky wall is preserved because it's in a wetland.
This lucky “dryland” will be preserved mainly because it lies in a protected wetland.